AGARTALA/Sentinel Assam: Tripura BJP president Manik Saha was elected to Rajya Sabha from the lone seat of the saffron party-ruled Northeastern State on Thursday.
After the counting of votes in the evening, Saha, a dental surgeon-turned-politician, secured 40 votes while his rival – CPI-M candidate Bhanulal Saha – bagged 15 votes.
Three seats were lying vacant in the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
Returning officer of the Rajya Sabha poll, S Mog communicated the result to the Election Commission, which would subsequently officially announce the result in Delhi.
Of the 40 votes, 33 belonged to the BJP and seven to its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).
IPFT MLA Brishaketu Debbarma did not cast his vote on Thursday as he had resigned from the Assembly in June last year and joined the TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) headed by Tripura’s royal scion, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman.
Debbarma’s resignation has been, however, not yet accepted by the Assembly Speaker Ratan Chakraborty due to some procedural reasons.
The BJP, for the first time in the electoral history of Tripura, won the lone Rajya Sabha seat even as the party succeeded in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 by winning all the two seats in the lower House of Parliament.
Saha’s election to the Upper House of Parliament was almost certain as the ruling party along with its ally – IPFT – has the strength of 41 MLAs in the 60-member House, while the Opposition CPI-M has 15 legislators after the death of the party legislator and former Assembly Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath.
Dissident BJP legislators Sudip Roy Barman and Ashis Kumar Saha resigned from the Assembly last month and joined the Congress.
Tripura Assembly Speaker in January disqualified another dissident BJP MLA Ashis Das after he joined the Trinamool Congress, openly criticizing the party and top leaders.
Congratulating the newly-elected RS member, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tweeted: “Heartiest congratulations to Dr Manik Saha for being elected as the first BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Tripura. I believe you will work sincerely in the Upper House of Parliament for the welfare of the people of Tripura under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi ji.”
Saha was elected president of the BJP’s Tripura unit in January, 2020, replacing Deb.
The 69-year-old Saha, also Professor and Head of the Department of the Tripura Medical College and BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala, and president of the Tripura Cricket Association, joined the BJP in 2016. (IANS)